SAYING SORRY ISN’T ENOUGH –
David learned a lot about what it meant to be truly sorry for doing something as rebellious as ordering a census when the Law of Moses forbid it under such circumstances. But just saying he was sorry was not enough, he found out there must be genuine repentance; an honest confession that he was wrong, admit that he knew he was wrong, and to accept the responsibility for being wrong. God only deals in truth and honesty, He has no interest in someone trying to play games or fool Him. If the psalmist could not be honest with himself, how could he be honest with God? God does not forgive and wipe away sins based on insincere admissions.
“Count your blessings if your sinful behavior has been forgiven and your sins have been washed away. Yes, count yourself blessed if the LORD Eternal no longer holds your sins against you because you really meant what you said. At first I wasn’t going to admit anything, but I felt so convicted it made me sick to my stomach and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Day and night I struggled with my conviction until I was exhausted; I was so out of energy I felt like the dry ground does during a summer drought. Finally, I admitted my sin to You, O LORD Eternal; I had no interest in continuing to pretend it didn’t happen. That’s when I decided to pour out my heart to You, and You instantly forgave me. So I tell all the saints to confess their sins to You as soon as they feel conviction, so they don’t let it drown them in unforgiven sorrow. For You will keep it to Yourself; You know just how much we can bear. You made it possible for me to rejoice in gladness when the burden was finally lifted. So let me explain this to everyone so they can see the best way to handle confession, based on my own experience. Don’t act like a stubborn horse or mule who can only be led by yanking on their bit and bridle. People with this kind of attitude are only asking for more grief, but those who put their full trust in the LORD Eternal will be embraced by His undying love. So let those who have been forgiven praise the LORD Eternal with enthusiasm; yes, let those whose hearts have been made right shout for joy!” Psalm 32:1-11
Reflection: Hardheadedness and stubbornness can be very destructive. Like the two farmers who lived next to each other near Valleyview, Alberta, Canada. Farmer Paul had trouble with farmer Oscar’s cattle coming over and grazing on his land, so he offered to build a fence if Oscar would split the cost. But Oscar refused, and so Paul went ahead and built a fence anyhow. One day Oscar came over to let his neighbor Paul know how much he appreciated the fence by saying, “I’m glad now we have a fence.” But his neighbor Paul barked back, “What do you mean, ‘we’! I had the property surveyed and built the fence two feet inside my line at my own expense. So if any of your cattle come up to the fence, they will already be on my property and I’ll shoot them.” Oscar knew Paul meant exactly what he said, so to keep his cows from being shot he built a fence along his property line. Oscar and Paul both died, leaving a double-fence, only two feet apart, running for about a half mile, as a monument to the high price of their stubbornness. David’s mule-headedness in not confessing his disobedience right away cost him dearly. Not only in terms of physical, mental, emotional, psychological, and spiritual suffering, but the alienation that resulted between himself and God, as well as his people. Don’t let unconfessed and unforgiven sin weigh you down; don’t allow it to impede your walk with God and smother your peace and joy with others. It isn’t worth it.